Niagara Falls - Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner and Niagara Green candidate Clarke Bitter issued an all-party challenge today, urging candidates to address growing public concern over the dire plight of honeybees and other pollinators.
“The local economy of the Niagara region is dependent on pollination”, said Schreiner. “Apples, peaches, cherries, grapes and peppers – all of those crops, and many others, need the services honey bees provide. If we want to protect the future health of local food production and support local farmers in this region we need to protect pollinators.”
Bitter says given the importance of bees to the Niagara region, candidates should agree to debate the issue and be ready with the steps each party would pursue if successful in the Feb. 13th by-election.
The Green Party is calling for a ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides until peer reviewed scientific research can definitively determine that neonicotinoids do not harm bees.
"Ontario's beekeepers applaud the efforts of the Green Party. We hope that all parties will support a suspension of neonicotinoid insecticides. We need this for the protection of the pollinators that we all rely on for Niagara's fruit and vegetable production," said Dan Davidson, President, Ontario Beekeepers Association.
“My challenge to my fellow candidates is straightforward – what is your party’s bee protection plan and what will you do to protect beekeepers and support Niagara farmers who need pollinators to survive?” asks Bitter.
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada confirmed the link between widespread bee kills in 2012 and 2013 and the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on corn plantings in Ontario. Residues were found in 80% of the 240 bee kill locations and on 70% of the bees tested. Late last year the PMRA said – “Consequently, we have concluded that current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are unsustainable.”
“The Premier continues to waffle on protecting bees while beekeepers experience unsustainable losses and farmers risk losing pollinators,” adds Schreiner. “The time for action is now, and voters can send a clear message for change by voting Green on February 13.”